Scientists who played with 42 pet cats for weeks on end conclude that, like humans, moggies are left or right “handed” reports John Bingham in the Telegraph this week.
And just as men are more likely to be left-handed, so are toms. Female felines favour their right paw when tackling complex tasks whereas Toms prefer the left.
Although previous studies attribute “handedness” to other animals, such as chimps and horses, the cat paw preference surprised experts.
Researcher Deborah Wells said: “Results suggest two distinct populations of paw preference,that cluster strongly around the animal's sex.”
Psychologists from Queen's University Belfast set the cats three tasks. The first involved retrieving a piece of tuna from a jar too small for their heads.
In the others, the pets pawed at a suspended toy mouse.
In the trickier jar test, there was a clear line between the sexes, the journal Animal Behaviour reports.
All 21 males favoured the left paw for the task, while 20 out of the 21 females used the right.
The researchers likened the pattern to the way in which humans would use either hand for a simple task such as opening a door but one or the other for writing.
“The more complex and challenging (the task), the more likely we're going to see true handedness,” Dr Wells was quoted in New Scientist as saying.
Read John Bingham's full article in the Telegraph